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KV 2/871

William Francis FORBES-SEMPILL, alias Lord SEMPILL, Master of SEMPILL: British. SEMPILL, an aeronautical engineer, served with distinction in the First World War in the Royal Flying Corps, Royal Naval Air Service and fledgling RAF, from which he retired in 1918. He remained involved in the aviation and aeronautical fields. From 1920 to 1923 he headed a civilian mission to Japan engaged in training Japanese aviators. He maintained close touch with Japanese missions and officials throughout the 1920s and 1930s. Before and during the war he was associated with a number of Fascist or semi-Fascist individuals and organisations, including 'Action', 'The Link', and the 'Constitutional Reform Association'. There is circumstantial evidence that in the1920s and 1930s Sempill passed sensitive military and technical information to the Japanese. For reasons touched on but not fully explained, Sempill was not prosecuted under the Official Secrets Acts, though this was seriously considered in 1925. On the evidence of these files, Sempill's activities on behalf of the Japanese and his Fascist contacts were motivated less by any desire to help the enemy or to make money than by his own impetuous character, obstinacy, and flawed judgement

With an account of Sempill's working relations with his Japanese contacts and the case against him
1921 Mar 01-1926 May 12
Held by:
The National Archives, Kew
Former references:
in its original department:   PF1153 VOLS 1, 2 & 3
Legal status:
Public Record
Physical description:
Access conditions:
Retained Until 2002
Record opening date:
01 May 2002

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